What is conduct disorder?

Conduct disorder is a pattern of behaviour a child displays in which they constantly break the rules or ‘misbehave’.

Does your child have conduct disorder?

If your child repeats at least three of the following behaviours over the course of 12 months and has continued with at least one during the past 6 years, then you should consider having them assessed by a psychologist.


Aggression towards people and animals

  • often bullies, threatens or intimidates others
  • often starts fights
  • has used a weapon that can seriously hurt others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)
  • has been physically cruel to people
  • has been physically cruel to animals
  • has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, bag snatching)
  • has forced someone into sexual activity

Destruction of property

  • has set a fire on purpose, wanting to cause damage
  • has destroyed things belonging to others, on purpose (other than by fire setting)

Deceitfulness or theft

  • has broken into someone else’s house, building or car
  • often lies or ‘cons’ other people
  • has stolen things, e.g. by shoplifting

Serious breaking of rules

  • often stays out at night despite parent’s rules (beginning before age 13)
  • has run away from home overnight at least twice (or once without returning for a long time)
  • often bunks school (beginning before age 13)


How do I get help for myself or my loved one?

The first step in getting help is finding out whether you have a problem. A trained clinical psychologist can effectively perform a professional assessment, which will identify whether you have any problem areas, and will recommend the treatment most appropriate for you if necessary.

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